Online Map in Shanghai (and China)

Here is a list of Shanghai Online Maps.

Google Maps (Global Sattelite Image)

There is only image, with no road and map information. It is very useful if you know an area well, and want to see the details (buildings, streets), but not useful for a stranger to find the right road to take.

Google Bendi (Local)

Move the needle on the left side to zoom in. It only has Chinese version. The data is powered by

The head to head competitor of Mapabc is It is widely used by other Chinese local website. Check this sample page. For me, it has better functions, and more accurate data.

As I just mentioned, it has exactly the same data as Google China. However, they still uses the Java technology, and requires browsers to have Java installed. So I don’t use it.

eDushi has a visionary idea – to draw 3-D map of all major cities. They have completed Hangzhou, Shanghai, Qingdao, Shenzhen, Wenzhou, Xi’an, Changsha, Guangzhou, Chengdu, and many other cities. All the buildings were drawn by hand! What an effort!

Real photo based map.

Wangjianshuo’s Shanghai Map

Hehe. Didn’t forget to mention my little map view. It is just a simple application with no map data. So… Just for fun…

Above are all the major map providers on the market I am familiar with. For English maps? I don’t see any really good one yet.

Updated with kind notification of Fenng.

Maglev Catches Fire

The headline picture of caught my attention at 21:50, when I reviewed today’s news in my living room. (This is maybe one of the 3 times I checked Sina this month, instead of daily one year ago). The news is about Maglev, my favorite topic.

This time, it is bad news. Maglev caught fire! According to the news:

At 2:40 PM, when the train left Long Yang Road Station to Pudong Airport, the fire alarm of one cart of the train was triggered. The fire was quickly put off, and all passengers was rescued.

What a piece of surprising news! This may strongly hit people’s confidence about the Hangzhou-Shanghai Maglev Line.

Here are the pictures from the news website.

Image credit: Sina news

Image credit: Sina news

Image credit: Sina news

Image credit: Sina news

The ladder (from the first cart on the right), and the rescue tube (the middle cart) are interesting. It is not easy to rescue from that a high place.

What a coincident that Maglev just held the rehearsal for fire emergency (CN) in May this year. It seemed to help.

Accident to this kind of high-tech train raise passengers’ concerns as much as problems of a aircraft… How bad it is!

Museums in Shanghai

Let me introduce my favorite museums in Shanghai.

The Shanghai Art Museum

My favorite museum in Shanghai is the Shanghai Art Museum.

The photo was originally published under Starbucks in A Day.

Location: North Huangpi Road, and West Nanjing Road (map).

Metro: Shanghai Metro Line #1, #2 People Square Station.

Land marker: It is just beside the Tomorrow Square (the JW Marriott Hotel). You won’t miss the hotel by checking the highest building with arrow to the sky in the People’s Square area.

Ticket Price: 20 RMB.

They have a nice website at

It is my most visited museum in Shanghai. The exhibition changes frequently, and the best exhibition I saw as the Impressionism : treasures from the national collection of France in 2004. Every time you go there, there is something new. The next big thing for the museum is Shanghai Biennale 2006.

The Kathleen 5 on the top of Shanghai Art Museum is a good restaurant, with nice very to the whole People’s Park.

Shanghai Museum

Shanghai Museum is, maybe, the biggest museum in Shanghai. The name is confusing. I would rather call it Shanghai Ancient History Museum, since there is nothing about modern Shanghai in the museum. To be more exact, I would name it China Ancient History Museum (in Shanghai), since there is not many stuff originally from Shanghai, but from all across China. The museum tells the complete story of the history of China – the art, drawings, coins, jade, and ancient China…

Price: 50 RMB

Location: Center of Shanghai :-) – the middle of the People’s Square.

Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center

I like this museum very much. It has a special area with real model of the city – you can see all the buildings within the Shanghai inner ring there. It is very good for technical guys to visit – you can understand how the city is built.

Location: Opposite of the Shanghai Museum – Exit at gate #1 of the People’s Square and you are right at the gate of the museum.

Price: 30 RMB

Time: 9:00 – 5:00 PM, Mon – Thur, 9:00 – 6:00 PM, Fri – Sun


There are many other museums in Shanghai. Above are only my favorites, and I didn’t visit all museums in Shanghai.

For example, the Shanghai Grand Theater Gallery in the building of the Shanghai Art Museum is also good, and the paintings are for sale. The Bund Museum at the Bund was the old lamp tower for the Bund, and now turned into a museum. Didn’t visited yet. The MOCA (Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art) in the People’s Park is also good – newly opened, and aim to be something like MoMA… So plan some time in your next trip to visit these museums in Shanghai.

I Don’t Know about China Visa

I received many questions about “How can I get China Visa from India”, or “My visa in China expires next month…”.

I am sorry but I have no idea about Chinese Visa. Obviously, I don’t need to have one, and there is no way for me to try out the procedures.

If you do have Chinese visa questions, you may TRY to post under this thread, and I believe many readers of this blog have the experience and can help. I am also curious about the steps to apply for a Chinese Visa. Please share and help. Thanks.

Shanghai Public Transportation Card

Public Transportation Card has become an essential part of people’s life in Shanghai.

The Card

The Public Transportation Card is a credit-card-size plastic card with IC embedded in it. The card has mat surface, and is a little bit thicker than credit card. The surface is smooth, and don’t have big numbers printed on it.

This is my card:

Where to Use It?

The card basically satisfies one’s all transportation needs. It can be used on all metro, almost all buses, major taxi, and ferry. The usage is now extended to highway fees, car services fees, and can be used to pay electricity, gas, and water. It can also be used by limited operators in other cities. Look at this table.

Among all the usage, metro and bus are major reason people need it. If you look at the long line waiting at the ticketing window, you will be happy to have a card on hand.

Where to Buy the Card?

You can buy the card at the ticket office of all metro stations. Some convenient stores also vend er the card.

They charge 30 RMB for the card. That means, if you pay 100 RMB, you get a card with 70 RMB available fund in it. You can get the 30 RMB refunded if you return the card back to the card company.

Maximum deposit in the card is 1000 RMB.

Information Stored in the Card

Passengers can query the last 10 times of usage of the card. The machine I like is at the Metro Line #1 People’s Square Station. Swipe the card on the machine, and you can see when (at which hour and minute), and where you used the card, and how much they deducted from the card.

Card Holder’s Performance…

People put the card in different places. For example, I always put it in my wallet, and every morning, I swipe my wallet at the card reader. It is sensitive enough to sensor the card and deduct money from it.

Some people put it in bags. So they swipe their bags again and again on the sensor until it beeps. Some put it into pocket of jacket, and swipe the pocket. Some even put it in the pocket of treasures, and jump to have card sensed. If you stay at the gate long enough, you will see different performance of card holders. It is kind of interesting.

You Should Get a Card now

If you stay here, do get one. If you are just a visit, maybe to buy a card and bring it back home is a good idea. It is a reliable evidence that someone has ever stayed in Shanghai and took the Metro (you cannot bring Metro Ticket back home, since it is recycled).

Shanghai Buses

The best way to get around in Shanghai is taxi and Metro. Taxi works best if you are not that cost senstive, since taxi is cheap compared to U.S. and Europe. 11 RMB (1.3 USD) – 20 RMB can get to most places, especially those attractions. Metro works better if you want to experience the Metro, or you don’t want to challenge yourself to speak English or mandarine with a taxi driver.

Besides taxi, and metro, bus is another good way to get around – cheap, and more importantly, you can see street scenes in a slow pace.

There are several types of buses you can choose.

Air Con vs. Non Air Con

Most route offers buses with air condition, or without it. The stops are exactly the same, but the price is not. Typically, buses with A/C charges 2 RMB (25 US cents) for the whole route, and buses without A/C charges 1 RMB.

10 years after the first air con bus put into operation in 1996, now 63% of buses are aircon buses. In 2007, 50% of Shanghai buses (or 70% of urban buses) will be equipped with aircon. In 2010, all urban buses will have aircon installed.

Typically, buses with A/C are of better condition. See these Scrawl on Shanghai Buses without A/C.

Self-served or conductor-served

Many buses are self-served. There is no conductor on the bus, and you have to pay either with Shanghai Transportation Card, or coins (no change is provided). The driver acts as a conductor.

On other buses, you can give cash to a conductor, and they provide changes. Look at the side of the bus to determine which type it is. It is really embarassing to get on to a bus without a conductor, and you don’t have the change to pay the fee. You either deposite big bills like 10 RMB or 50 RMB into the box, and donate the part higher than the ticket to the bus company, or leave. Some passenger does deposite 10 RMB, and stand at the gate to be temp conductor, and collect coins from the next 4 passengers. It happens all the time.

Urban Buses or Suburb Buses

There are still other types of buses. Most buses are urban buses, and you can tell it from their numbers, for example, Bus 42, 926, 911… There are some buses named by two Chinese characters, like Xumin Line 徐闵线. Chances are, these buses go to suburb areas of Shanghai. There are some speical buses, like Bridge Line #1 – #5, Tunnel Line #1 – 6, and Pudong Airport Shuttle #1 – #7.

Bus Stops

Buses are very easily accessed in the whole city. If you can read Chinese maps, do spend some time on the map and study the route of buses. Typically, you can get to any place by one bus, or two buses. Here is instruction on How to Read Shanghai Bus Stop Plate.

Have Questions?

Have questions? Call 96900 for Navigation Direction. Please note: this phone charges about 1 RMB per minute (not so sure though).

Keep Reading:

The World is Not Created by Genius

Lao Hua has an interesting blog about a game he facilitates. The game is like this:

  • Gather a group of people (the more, the better)
  • Ask each person to write down a number between 0 – 100
  • Calculate the average of all these numbers
  • The one who guessed closest to 2/3 of the average number wins

Which number would you guess if you were in the game?

My Guess

I played the game for the first time yesterday. My guess was 8.2

I thought if everyone randomly chooses a number, the average should be 50, and 2/3 of it is 33.3.

I assume everyone should know this. If everyone knows it, people will try 33.3333, and the average is 33.33. 2/3 of it is 22.22

If everyone is as smart and think of this, people will irratate, and the number is becoming smaller and smaller, like this.










My brain started to hurt, and finally, I thought, at least it should be within 1-10, so I randomly chose 8.2

The Final Result

This is the guess from 12 people:













The average is 31.445, and 2/3 of it is 20.96333333. Finally, the person who guessed 22 won the game. I lose miserably.

I agree that world is not created by genius now.


Expressways of Shanghai

Following the Middle Ring article I wrote today, let me talk a little bit about the expressways in Shanghai.

Expressways in Shangha, hand drawn by Jian Shuo Wang

Shanghai has a network of expressways. They are still building it, but it is many more than I came to Shanghai 10 years ago. They used the alphanumeric system to name the roads. It is A+number.

On numbering system, please refer to my article: Top Three Innovation that Failed in Shanghai. In 2004, many people cannot get used to it. Now, I believe it works much better than 2004. People complained that A11 is worse than “Huning” which means “Shanghai-Nanjing” Expressway. Now, after having more than 10 expressways, maybe numbering system starts to show more advantages than Chinese character naming system.

For the Chinese names of these roads, please refer to the second part of this article: Lupu Bridge Opens

A20 Road

Outer Ring. It runs besides Hongqiao Airport, and connects to Pudong Airport via A1. Many Axxx road starts from A20. Typically, areas outside A20 are considered suburb of Shanghai.

A30 Road

The Suburb Ring Road. Still under construction, but it is the out most ring in Shanghai.

A1 Road

Yinbing Avenue. It mainly serve one propose – connecting A20 to Pudong Airport. The name A1 implies it is a very important expressway, although it is the shortest one among all these expressways.

A2 Road

Hulu Expressway. It connects A20 and the Donghai Bridge and the New Harbor City

A4 Road

Xinfengjin Expressway. It runs from A20 (at Xinzhuang Interchange) to Fengjing. It goes cross the Huangpu River by Fengbu Bridge. The highlight of this road is the Shanghai Jiaotong University Minhang Campus, and the Zizhu High-Tech Park. Microsoft and Intel opened research centers there.

A5 Road

Jiajin Expressway, from A4 to Jiangsu. I haven’t try this road yet.


This is the major road to go to Hangzhou. It is also called Huhang Expressway. 2 hours down A8 is Hangzhou.

A9 Road

Unlike A8 and A11, it does not connect Shanghai to major nearby city. If you really want to know what is the other side of the road, it is Huzhou 湖州. If you go down this expressway long enough, you eventually arrive at Chongqing.

A11 Road

From Shanghai to Nanjing


Hujia Expressway. Jiading is a remote district of Shanghai. This expressway is also the first expressway in China.

These are the expressways I know – at least I can remember now. There are many other highways in Shanghai, but I either didn’t use it before, or still under construction.

Middle Ring of Shanghai

Went to Jeff’s birthday party today. The air-con of my car (goudaner) stopped functioning, so we went to the FIAT 4S store, and had it fixed. After that, we went to the middle ring of Shanghai. It is the first time I use that elevated highway.

The Middle Ring

The elevated highway system in Shanghai consists of 4 rings, and 2 cross highway inside the city, and more than 10 radical highway to outside.

The inner ring was firstly built, and then the outter ring (A20). Later the A30 ring is almost completed. Now, the middle ring was built between the inner ring and outer ring. It will be the major transportation road for Shanghai.

Now, the Middle Ring from Hongmei Road 虹梅路 and the Xiangyin Road Tunnel 翔殷路隧道 has been completed.

Illustration of Middle Ring

The road was built with 8 lanes (4 lanes per direction). The north side of the ring is elevated. The west 1/4 of the ring is almost all on the ground. This design is very similiar with the Beijing 3rd Ring and 4th Ring – there are 10 – 12 lanes (5 – 6 per direction). The 4 lanes are expressway (part of inner ring), and the outside 1 or two lanes are local road. They are seperated and connected with ramps. In Beijing, it is called Main road (主路), and Side Road(辅路). This design seems to be firstly used in middle ring in Shanghai.

The Middle Ring and the local road are at the same level, and are seperated.

More Interchanges

Here is the satellite image of one of the interchange between Middle Road and the Chengdu Road.

© Google Maps. The north-most part of the Middle Ring – the interchange of Middle Ring and the Chendu Road (north-south elevated road)

Pudong Section has not Started

The part of Middle Ring is Pudong has not started yet.

Sony GPS-CS1

Sony just announced the release of Sony GPS-CS1.

Image in courtesy of

I want to be the first in Shanghai to get it. :-) Hope in the future, I have GPS information with all my pictures.

Top 3 Issues of Shanghai Tourism

Reporter and Editor of Travel Times Miss Chen Zhen chatted with me about the tourism service of Shanghai. The newspaper is part of the Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administrative Commission, the government organization in charge of tourism of Shanghai.

She asked: What do you think Shanghai should improve in tourism, especially for international visitors?

I thought there are many that Shanghai needs to improve to make travel and sightseeing more enjoyable for foreigners, but I wasn’t able to name top 3 issues of Shanghai Tourism as a whole. Should it be more English information about Shanghai? or be better service in tourism industry, like travel agencies?

As visitors or expats in Shanghai, I believe my readers may have better answers. I want to pass readers’ comments to those who can make some impact, so Shanghai is a more visitor/traveler friendly city.

P.S. We met because the commission thought I may be a good candidate for Shanghai Tourism Ambassador. :-) It is a good title, but I would rather to my daily work to introduce “events (in Shanghai) that affect my life (and others’)”.

P.S. I am happy to chat with Zhen, and Yangyu, and I suddenly found I love the city I live better than I thought. I had a dream of open an (as mentioned in this article

I learnt a small shop space near Xintiandi only cost around 5000 RMB/month to rent. Not a very bad deal. I dreamed to open an Unofficial Shanghai Tourist Center before. I don’t like the so-called Shanghai Official Tourist Center. They are not helpful as the worst travel company because they have no incentive to attract more visitors to their centers (they are not a profit center so not many people care). In the “unofficial” tourist center, there will be some free articles (printed from this site and other contributing sources) and some volunteers to offer tour guide (in exchange of foreign language practices with native speakers to Shanghai). It may remain a dream until I decide to retire some day. I am serious because retiring early (than age of 40) was my other dream.

So the questions for you. What is the top 3 areas to improve for Shanghai Tourism?

East Hotel Shanghai

screen-wangjianshuos.pick-logo.pngEast Hotel (东方宾馆) is one of the many splendid hotels in the history of Shanghai but fade out to be a small potato in the hotel industry. It is just at the People’s Square – Xizang Road, and Guanxi Road. I see the roof of the hotel everyday from my window in the office. The history changed very thing.

The Old East Hotel

The building is currently the Workers’ Culture Palace – according to the translation of the current owner. Before it was turned into the current “palace” in 1950, the building was the “East Hotel” building. It is the oldest hotel on the Xizang Road. From 1929 to 1950, it was one of the best hotels in Shanghai (along with many others, like Yangtze Hotel, Park Hotel, and Pujiang Hotel…)

The building itself is wonderful landmark for the area – I will take picture next time and put it here (I don’t have it now, although I pass it very often if I take bus to office).

In 1950, the hotel was changed to the Workers’ Culture Palace, and there are many organizations working in the building. The good thing is, there is small one floor serve as hotel. The hotel is operated by the Shanghai Workers’ Union, and is still named as East Hotel Shanghai. However, this hotel is no longer the top hotels in Shanghai. It is on the sixth floor of the building.

The Current East Hotel

The current East Hotel is a three-star standard hotel. “Three-star standard” hotel in China means “not a three-star hotel yet”. It is built according to the standard, but not confirmed by any organization.

The price for standard room is about 280 RMB (35 USD) for rooms with a window, or 240 RMB (30 USD) for rooms without window. They only have one floor, or 40 rooms in the hotel.

I have been there one, and found it is not that bad. The elevator is scary – small, and noisy, but the hotel on the sixth floor is OK, with pretty clean rooms. The best thing of the hotel is location. It has the best location, and in a historical building. I would say it has even better location than the JW Marriott Hotel, or the Hyatt Jinmao if you want to find a place very near to Metro Line (both #1, and #2), and many lines of buses (up to 20?).

It is a cheap hotel. Don’t expect anything too high out of the hotel. Just a place to stay. There is no gym, no swimming pool, no business center… beside a small coffee (which is nice, and with good view), there are only beds…

You may want to have a try, and be back to comment on your experience.


Location: 120 Xizang Middle Road 上海西藏中路120号(市文化宫六楼)

Phone: 021-51096884,56113081

Disclaimer: I didn’t stay in this hotel so I don’t know whether it works or not.

It is funny. I have not stayed in any hotels in Shanghai, except two: one is the Jianguo Hotel – I stayed there to stand by the Y2K bug at Microsoft at Jan 1, 2000; the other is the Garden Hotel – where we had our wedding.

Top Commentor of July 2006

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